In this final section of the students' stories, I want their writing to keep the sense of purpose for their audience and gain understanding of text components, while at the same time enjoy the illustrative and personalized aspect of their publishing activities. To do this I use examples from good authors and illustrators to help them visualize their final products.
We get together and I have a pile of books that I use from different genre (mystery, science, historical fiction, text book, etc.) which I share that they are going to use the illustrations to determine the authors purpose for writing the book and who his/her expected audience is?
I show the first book (a Goosebumps series) and ask what do you think this book is about? Why? What clues did the author leave the readers on the cover? Who would the audience be for a book in this genre?
I then show a classic (Little Women), a historical fiction (Chasing Lincoln's Killer) and a science topic (Earth's Changes) ask the same questions. My purpose is for students to see how authors carefully chose their covers to attract the attention of their intended audiences. This connection will help them to create cover pictures that display pictures that their audience (peers) will enjoy. This Big Idea goes with our theme of writing to create strong visuals for our readers. (RL 5.6, 5.7)
(In this lesson I want to attract their attention to the importance of using strong visuals to interest their audiences and then to inform them through authors pages and dedication pages)
I introduce their objective that they will now get the opportunity to create cover pages, author's pages and dedication pages for their stories that will connect them to and attract the attention of their desired audience. (RL 5.7, RL 5.7 W 5.4)
In the beginning of this section of the lesson I have students pass out the author's page worksheet. Before I let them fill in the personal information, I share that I want to read them an author's page from a book we read recently. I ask students why the author would include information about himself? I take responses and students mostly say it is for readers to get to know him a little better. That's pretty close so I add that it is this and also a way for author's to show their expertise or knowledge of a topic or writing style. I share that this information sheet is like a graphic organizer that they can use to decide what information they would like to share with their audience. I have them fill in some of the information as I set the timer for 5 minutes - what they don't finish can be added to their independent where they will be asked to use facts about themselves to produce an author's page paragraph.
In the second section of the lesson I want students to improve their understanding of how authors use illustrations on the covers of their stories to attract their targeted audiences. I have students take out their whiteboards. I ask them to think about the group of people that will read their stories? I share that they need to think about age, boy-girl, interests, and reading abilities, etc. I have them brainstorm readers interests on their boards. I then ask them to think of all the illustrations they could add to their stories and to decide which ones would interest the audience they are thinking of. I share that their illustrations can come from any part of their stories - beginning, middle or endings.
Once students get their ideas in mind I have them share with a partner why and how they are going to design their covers/ title pages (we create one front page for their stories). Their partners are instructed to share a positive comment and an area they could improve (with specific advice for how or where).
Students don't share aloud with the class because their cover is personal to their stories. I do remind them that step one is to complete their authors page worksheet - step two is to design their covers. I need to do this to keep them focused on the writing task over the art task, because the art task can often take all their time to complete leaving little for the second half of their assignment. I pass out their title page example sheets and another more kid friendly example.
In the third section of the lesson I read some sample book dedications to them and ask Why would the author write this section? What information does he want to share? How does this affect the readers? We share out responses and I add that authors write dedications to thank those who helped him or her write the stories. It can be dedicated to their family, a person who peer edited their work, or someone who gave them the idea for the story. Authors have even dedicated their writing to animals that inspired their ideas! I share that they will need to add a dedication page to their stories that thanks or acknowledges one or more people who gave them support or inspiration to help them write their story.
(W 5.4, W5.6 SL 5.1d, SL 5.5)
Students are now excited and ready to learn. I post the sample title/ cover, dedication and authors pages on the board, but these are also ones you could copy for students to use as references. I had mine write their pages but if we have computer time I usually have them type them (W 5.6). The benefit to writing was that they had to draw their own cover picture. This was an additional component that forced them to think again about who their targeted audience would be and what picture would attract them (W 5.4).
This video shows examples of what each of these sections should look like and the variety of styles students choose to do
I gave students about 50 minutes to finish because they had three things to complete. This could also make a center activity with a different section due each day.
When we finished we had just enough time to have some authors share their illustrations with the class - reading their dedications and authors pages was optional but most chose to do so. They are going to leave their stories displayed on our student story shelf for all to enjoy. They will also take these to read to our kinder buddy class.